Utah Conservation Corps continues work despite government shutdown

Oct 11, 2013

Despite the federal shutdown, the Utah Conservation corps has managed to keep its members busy with projects around the state.

Utah Conservation Corps building fences to preserve environment in Utah.
Utah Conservation Corps building fences to preserve environment in Utah.
Credit Utah Conservation Corps

"We're doing a lot of work with nonprofit organizations and state organizations which is a little bit different than the traditional partnerships with federal land management agencies," said Sean Damitz of the Center for Civic engagement and Service Learning at Utah State University. "So that's given us a lot of security in the face of the federal shutdown."

The Utah Conservation Corps has gone from being approximately 75 percent federally funded to around 50 percent within the last five years, according to Damitz. He believes this change made all the difference in UCC's ability to continue functioning during the shutdown.

While most projects remain functioning, others involved with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Forest Service were forced to shut down last week.

"Some of those projects could start up this year, but it depends on the park and the level of staffing that they have," said Damitz.

A deal to fund Utah’s National Parks beginning Saturday was struck in congress this week. However, the abandoned projects for the UCC are not projected to pick up where they left off last week because of the seasonal nature of the work.

Taylor Halversen is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts.